Category Archives: Society- Christianity

Bethlehem Today

Many of us that are familiar with the story of Jesus’ birth have a rosy, Christmas-tinted view of Bethlehem. We envision Mary on the donkey, the full inn, and the idyllic stable with just a handful of clean and sweet-smelling animals. Clean straw covers the floor. Nativities depicting this scene can be purchased at, for example.

But what is Bethlehem like today? Would the little town of Bethlehem still be recognizable to Mary and Joseph? Can we still see a little bit of what it was like at the time of Jesus’ birth?

Bethlehem today is a small city of about 22,000 people. It is controlled by the Palestinian Authority rather than Israel and has a mixed religious population. Two suburbs and settlements controlled by the Israelis surround the city.

As might be suspected, shopping is a bustling tourist industry in modern day Bethlehem, especially at Christmastime. Shops line the streets, and the proprietors can be found selling a multitude of items native to the area, such as jewelry and spices. Olive wood carvings, such as those found at, are the best selling items among pilgrims visiting Bethlehem.

At one point in the mid-twentieth century, when the British first left Palestine, Christians made up a huge majority of the population of Bethlehem, but they have been a shrinking minority for the last 20 years. As evidence of the Christian heritage of the city, there are several churches throughout the city commemorating the birth of Christ, most famously the Nativity Church. This is the oldest remaining church in the Holy Land and was built by Constantine and him mother, Helena. It is rather plain on the outside but quite beautiful on the inside. Ancient mosaics can be found covered by the current floor.

Ancient tradition points to a cave as the place of Jesus’ birth, since animals were often housed in caves for shelter and safety. The Byzantine church was erected around the cave that was believed to be the site of the nativity, and a star marks the area on the floor that traditionally is the exact spot where Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus.

Even today shepherds can be found “watching their flocks by night” outside of the city. Shepherds still wear the traditional garb and can give us a peek into what it may have looked like on that holy night when the angels appeared to the shepherds.


Five Essentials for Selecting Fundraising Ideas for Churches

When choosing fundraising ideas for churches, it’s vital that you know what works, and what does not. Here are five essentials for churches in need of fundraising ideas.

When searching for fundraising ideas for churches, you’ll come across all sorts of items. Cookies, scented candles, candy, and other consumable goods tend to be popular, but selecting these items for your fundraiser often results in poor sales. Instead of leaving things up to chance, follow these five essentials for selecting fundraising ideas for churches. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a Vision

Whether working to create a successful church youth fundraiser or a general fundraiser for making improvements or repairs to your church building, it is vital that you prayerfully set a vision for that fundraising effort. What does God call your church to do? Keeping fundraising ideas for churches in line with the overall mission of your church will help to inspire people to volunteer with fundraising efforts, and it will help propel sales.

Communicate Your Case Using Compelling Language

People are driven to act when they hear strong, compelling messages. It’s vital that fundraising ideas for churches include items that people will feel an emotional connection to, and it’s important that in building your fundraiser, you help not just your own community, but an underserved population of some type. We are called to give alms, and when we know that a portion of proceeds from items we purchase goes to a worthy cause, we’re compelled to make good buying decisions. Striking a balance between salesmanship and a vision of service will lead to strong sales.

Ensure Everyone is Committed to Success

While many people within faith communities are capable of coming up with interesting fundraising ideas for churches, it can be tough to find a committed team of people with the time and organizational skills required to run a successful fundraiser. Build a team that is capable of seeing the vision, using compelling language, and committing fully to the fundraising process. If you feel someone is at risk of overcommitting, be honest as you discuss issues surrounding the level of commitment surrounding various tasks. In addition, don’t feel badly about selecting your fundraising team with care. After all, your mission is important and you need a committed team in order to be successful.

Educate Everyone Involved

Once you have selected a fundraiser, educate everyone involved, from church leadership to congregation.

  • Church leadership should be aware of the mission and have knowledge about the products and benefits associated with those products.
  • Team members must have product knowledge and the ability to provide potential buyers with information about those products – essentially, they must educate their customers.
  • Congregations and potential customers need to be provided with background information about the items for sale. For example, they should know that the praying hands statue on sale is not made in a Chinese factory; instead, it’s made by a Christian artisan who will receive part of the proceeds from its sale. This type of education is crucial and will have a positive effect on sales.

Work With A Well-Established Fundraising Organization

Well-established fundraising organizations like have products and programs designed to lead to church fundraising success. By selecting an organization capable of helping you with every step of the process, you ensure your fundraiser goes smoothly and is as profitable as possible.


Christians Caring for God’s Creation

As Christians, we are stewards of God’s creation – the planet we live on, the birds, animals and plants that share the Earth with us, and the air and water we depend on for life have been entrusted to our care. Now, more than ever, it is up to us as Christians to do all we can to help safeguard the resources God provided to sustain us. Here, we’ll take a look at some ways you can do your part.

Make Wise Choices

We’ve all hear the slogan “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle,” and sometimes it may seem as though public service announcements and environmental organizations go a little overboard. The sad truth is though, that God’s oceans are full of plastic, the lands He provided to people for farming have been covered in pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals; and the birds, fish, and animals He provided to sustain us are dying off at incredible rates, simply because people have stopped caring for the gifts God gave us.

The choices you make each day – when you purchase something, when you discard items, and when you use resources – all add up. Are you a good steward of God’s creation? Which businesses do you support, and what kind of entertainment do you choose? All of the choices you make, day in and day out, matter greatly.

Participate in Cleanup Efforts

By participating in cleanup efforts, whether that’s at a local park, along roadsides, or on a beach or other waterfront area, you can help to make a difference. God has blessed us with an abundance of natural resources. It is important to spend at least a small portion of our time showing that we care.

Teach Children the Importance of Good Stewardship

Children are eager to learn new things, so start off right, and teach them the importance of taking good care of what God has given them. Teach them to use resources properly, and set a good example. There are countless resources available for teaching kids to care for the environment.

How HolyLand-Gifts Makes a Difference

The gift items you purchase from us don’t arrive in excessive packaging, and they are made from sustainable natural resources. For example, the olive wood which most of our gifts are made from is sourced from branches trimmed from olive trees. Trimming these trees, some of which are thousands of years old, helps them to stay healthy and keep producing olives, which people in Bethlehem rely on for many of the products they use every day. Most of the gift items are unfinished, so the wood has a chance to take on a lovely patina as it ages – and so less chemical residue makes its way into the environment.

By choosing to give these gift items instead of meaningless plastic items, you are helping to ensure less garbage ends up polluting the planet, and you are helping artisans in the Holy Land to live more abundantly. Finally, you are giving unique gifts people will treasure. They are a connection to the natural resources God gave to humanity – and a little reminder that the simplest things in life are often some of the most meaningful.


Christians in the Holy Land

Holy Land Gifts supports Christian artists living in the Holy Land – you probably already know that much! What you might not know is that Christians, once thriving in the area commonly referred to as the Holy Land, are being uprooted. Those who remain are constantly under threat from others seeking to persecute them, and finding life-sustaining employment is a difficult endeavor. Despite what some officials say, Christians living in the Holy Land regularly face discrimination, which is why our support of this cottage industry is so important to their survival.

A Brief History of Christians in the Holy Land

As Christ was ultimately persecuted and put to death , so it seems that Christians living in the Holy Land have rarely enjoyed peace; in the year 66 AD, just 33 years after Jesus rose from the dead, the Jewish Rebellion ignited a fierce war with Rome, forcing Christians to flee. By the year 70 AD, Titus and his Roman army were in control; even the Jewish people had their temple destroyed, along with much of the rest of Jerusalem. Turmoil continued during the first centuries until the year 313, when the Edict of Milan put a stop to the persecution of Christians.

In the year 335, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was dedicated, and four years later, in 339, the Church of the Nativity was established in Bethlehem. Between 362 and 365,the Emperor Julian promised to rebuild the ancient Jewish temple and re-establish paganism, but by 391, Emperor Theodosius outlawed paganism and made Christianity the Roman Empire’s official religion.

Turmoil and peace alternated with Christianity continuing to thrive until in 1009, Muslim Caliph Al Hakim destroyed many churches including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during a massive campaign to persecute Christians. Eventually, the church was rebuilt, and as the centuries passed, power continued to shift.

Many Holy Land sites have been destinations for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religious pilgrimages ever since Biblical times, which is why the area is so often fought over. People from all these major faiths visit the Holy Land to see and touch sites and symbols related to their faiths, which helps to deepen belief and allow them to connect more personally to the divine. The Holy Land is special to many people from all over the world, and while persecution of Christians does continue, many non-Christians and followers of Judaism and Islam do believe that Christianity should continue to have a presence in the area.

How You Can Help

Helping Christian families living in the Holy Land is very easy. By holding a church fundraiser or conducting a mission project, you can help to make life better for these dedicated artisans who continue to use ancient techniques to create beautiful and unique products that allow you to enjoy a personal connection with the land where Jesus was born and where he lived his life.

Finally, you can help Christians in the Holy Land by praying for their well-being and safety. These people, like us, are part of our Christian family, united by Christ.

Christian Rosaries: Important Tools for Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful way to relax your mind and focus on prayer. Christian rosaries are useful tools for meditation, and rosaries can be used by any Christian.

For a long time, Catholics were the only people to use Christian rosaries as tools for prayer and meditation. Today, people from many different Christian faith backgrounds use the rosary as a way to ground themselves physically, whether actually praying the prayers that traditionally go along with Christian rosaries, or whether simply using them as a reminder to focus on the act of praying itself.

The Value of Meditation

When you think about meditation, what kind of images come into your minds’ eye? Perhaps you envision a peaceful monk sitting quietly beneath a tree, breathing in and out as he communicates with God. Maybe you see an entire group of Christians holding hands and praying together in Jesus’ name, completely focused on their intention. Whatever you see, understand that meditation is not just a valuable way to communicate with the divine, it is also an act that is physically beneficial.

If you suffer from high stress, physical pain of any kind, or even from an inability to really focus on the prayers you want to say each day, meditating can help to alleviate mental and physical suffering, aid in relaxation and healing, and help you to focus on communicating with the Divine. Christian rosaries are tools that can help you to enjoy deeper meditation and receive the many benefits associated with it.

How to Use Christian Rosaries for Meditation

The rosary itself is simple, just a series of simple beads strung together with a central medallion and a cross at one end. Most people like the way a full-size rosary feels in their hands; however, there are smaller rosaries available, such as chaplets that fit around the wrist like a bracelet.

Whatever your preference, begin your meditative journey using the rosary by seeking a quiet place where you can relax and breathe deeply without any interference from outside sources. You can either sit quietly or walk along a path you know well as you meditate; various methods work for different people. Some like to listen to music while meditating, and others enjoy complete silence.

If you like, you can pray the prayers associated with the rosary. These include the Pater Noster (Our Father) and the Hail Mary. If you are like many people, and you prefer to use free-form prayers to express your feelings and desires to God, or even to repent for something you have done wrong, you can still use the rosary as a tool. Just identify various issues you want to talk with God about, and use each bead to help you focus on expressing yourself. If you find your mind wandering, move to a different bead or slowly run the rosary beads through your fingers, reminding yourself to stay grounded, and letting the physical feeling of the beads remind you that God is listening to your prayers.

End by giving thanks to God for listening. The more you use the rosary as a meditation tool, the more you will receive the benefits associated with meditating. If you need a rosary, you’ll find HolyLand-Gifts has a nice selection available.


Christian Gifts for Kids: How to Make them Special

Finding Christian gifts for kids is simple if you know where to look. Kids will enjoy memorable Christian gifts more when you add special personal touches.

Think back to the last time someone gave you a gift, and you’ll understand why adding special touches to Christian gifts for kids is so important. No matter what the gift you received was, it probably seemed a lot more meaningful when the one who gave it to you added special personal touches. Here, we’ll provide some ideas for adding even more meaning to Christian gifts for kids.

Start With a Great Gift

Everyone loves gifts, and with just a little thought, you can look at a group of items and select the one that will best suit the person you’re gifting. What makes a great gift though? Usually, it’s something completely unexpected – something out of the ordinary. It’s an item the receiver doesn’t have already, or it’s an item that replaces or upgrades an item the recipient already has. Some examples of great Christian gifts for kids include:

  • Jewelry for girls
  • Crosses for either gender
  • Rosaries, particularly at First Communion or Confirmation
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • Small Nativity sets kids can put in their rooms

Add a Story

Different items, even religious items, have different meanings to different people. If you have a personal story to tell about an item, you can write that story out and include it, or you can tell the story to the child and give him or her the gift when the time is right. For example, if you are thinking about presenting a child with a cross or a rosary because an item like that one has played a special role in your spiritual life, think about a way to explain the item’s significance to that child. Make sure you use age-appropriate language the child can understand.

If you like, you can add a book that talks about the item, or if you have always wanted to write a kids’ book, now is your chance to write a special book and illustrate it. It doesn’t have to be fancy – you can do it on your own PC, using your own printer, and crafting a special cover out of durable material. The more creative you are, the more exciting and personal the gift will be, and the more meaning it will have.

Package it Beautifully

When giving a gift, you might feel as if the gift itself is special enough, and this might just be true. In many cases though, packaging helps build excitement and adds a bit of festivity to the occasion. For simple Christian gifts for kids, consider the following:

  • Put little gifts like wooden cross necklaces or rosaries into a keepsake box. This not only helps add visual appeal, it helps keep the gift safe – even careful children can be hard on their belongings.
  • For Easter gifts, make a little Easter basket with your gift as the centerpiece.
  • For Christmas gifts, add a wooden Christmas ornament to the packaging, next to the bow. This is inexpensive, yet it adds a wonderfully meaningful touch. has many wonderful items that will appeal to children. For baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation gifts, as well as great gifts for other occasions, we offer quality and affordability.



Choosing Rosary Beads for Children

When selecting rosary beads for children, it is important to keep the child’s age and gender in mind. Children should be taught to care for their rosary beads.

There are many types of rosary beads for children, ranging from colorful plastic rosaries to wooden rosaries. There are even rosaries that glow in the dark. When selecting rosary beads for children, you should be sure to make your choice with care. While a very young child might appreciate a colorful rosary with big plastic beads, an older child will probably appreciate a nicer rosary that looks like the type parents and other adults have.

Plastic Rosaries

Very young children are attracted to bright colors, which is just one reason plastic rosaries can be a good choice for them. In addition, they can be very hard on delicate items, including rosaries with carefully crafted metal links. Plastic rosaries with plastic crucifixes and medals instead of metal ones are just right for babies and toddlers, particularly if the child still tends to put items in his or her mouth. These rosaries tend to be very sturdy, and they can be easily sanitized. You can even run them through the dishwasher to remove germs.

Plastic rosary beads for children made with different colored beads can also help youngsters learn how to say the rosary. Just be sure to check these rosaries for damage frequently, and repair or retire them if beads come loose so that they don’t become a choking hazard. Also, don’t leave very young children unattended with rosaries, unless those rosaries are too small to fit over their heads. As they are very sturdy and are designed not to break, they can be a strangulation hazard. If you keep rosaries around the house, keep them up and out of reach when they are not in use, both to prevent accidents and to help kids understand the need to handle religious items with reverence.

First Communion Rosaries

When a youngster receives his or her First Holy Communion, it’s a sign that he or she is growing up and growing in faith. This is a great time to take a step up from rosary beads for children to a set of rosary beads that the child can enjoy using as the years pass.

Girls and boys alike dress in white for their first communions, as a sign of purity. A white rosary is a customary first communion gift, and one that the child will treasure. Consider giving the gift of a mother of pearl rosary – this is made from natural mother of pearl shell, and will become more lustrous as time passes.

For a boy who might not appreciate the beauty of mother of pearl, consider replacing rosary beads for children with a set of rosary beads handcrafted from olivewood. This rosary is just as beautiful as its white mother of pearl counterpart, but has a much more masculine look and feel.

You’ll find mother of pearl rosaries and olivewood rosaries online, at These surprisingly affordable rosaries are handmade by holy land artisans, and make outstanding first communion gifts that anyone will appreciate.


Choosing a Rosary Beads Necklace for Men

The rosary beads necklace for men is a fantastic gift that is certain to be well-received. Here are some guidelines for selecting rosary beads as a necklace for men.

Some men are notoriously tough to shop for, which is one reason a rosary beads necklace for men makes a great gift. Following, we’ll discuss some various rosary necklace styles along with various pros and cons associated with each type of rosary beads necklace for men.

Stainless Steel Rosary Beads

While stainless steel rosary beads tend to impart a nice streamlined look, they’re also quite trendy, which means that when you give this type of rosary beads necklace for men, it may not be a gift the recipient is able to wear for more than a few seasons. In addition, these rosary beads tend to become very hot when exposed to sunlight.

Plastic Rosary Beads

Many churches and non-profit groups give away handmade plastic rosaries for free. Sometimes these rosaries are strung on polyester thread, and sometimes they’re made to be more durable, with metal chain links between the beads. Some of these rosary beads are one-hundred percent plastic, making them a good choice for small children who might damage a more valuable set of rosary beads; some have metal crosses that give them a slightly more upscale look. As a rosary beads necklace for men, plastic rosary beads can be a good choice for someone who cannot have metal items; if a friend or loved one is in prison, then plastic rosary beads may be the only kind this recipient can have.

Natural Stone Rosary Beads

Rosary beads made with natural stones often have a very sparkly look, which makes them a favorite with women. Crystal is a popular stone for rosary making, though some rosaries are made with more valuable gemstones like garnets, sapphires, or rubies. Some rosaries are even made of diamonds; these cost about the same as a new car. While natural stone rosary beads can be a nice choice as a rosary beads necklace for men, price can be an issue. If you do want to give a man a rosary made with gemstones, be sure to choose one that looks masculine.

Shell Rosary Beads

Natural shells are often used to make rosaries. One of the nicest types on the market is mother of pearl, which is an iridescent white color. When worn, these rosaries feel smooth against the skin, and they don’t become terribly hot. The natural shell these rosaries are made from lasts for many years, meaning that even though these rosaries are inexpensive, they can become treasured family heirlooms.

Wooden Rosary Beads

Wooden rosary beads are very popular with men. These rosaries have a distinctly masculine look, and so long as they are made with a quality wood, such as olivewood, they only improve with age and can last a man a lifetime. While some wooden rosary beads are very expensive, others are available at surprisingly low prices. Of all the various types of rosaries for men, these are among the best – and they make a fantastic gift for all occasions.




Ash Wednesday: A Quick Guide for New Believers

Many people who grew up in Christian homes know what Ash Wednesday is all about, whether they elect to celebrate it or not. For many who are new to Christianity or who grew up in Christian faiths that do not typically celebrate this, the first day of the Lenten season, we have a quick guide to share. Here, we’ll talk a little bit about the History of Ash Wednesday, plus we’ll talk about some ways today’s Christians celebrate the first day of Lent.

The History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the liturgical season known as Lent – the forty-three days before Easter. It has long been known as a day of repentance, and as many biblical verses discuss using ashes to show repentance or to express mourning, people have been expressing sorrow for their sins or faults for millennia in this way. Some bible verses that discuss the use of ashes to express penitence include:

  • Job 42:3-6 – I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I aabhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
  • Jeremiah 6:26 – Oh daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes.
  • Daniel 9:3 – I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
  • Maccabees 3:47 – That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes

These are just some examples from ancient history. Christians first started celebrating Ash Wednesday around the year 960; before that, ashes were placed on the foreheads of people who were entering a religious group known as the Order of Penitents. It was during the twelfth century that people began to use palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday to generate the ashes used during the Ash Wednesday ritual.

By the middle ages, a new emphasis was placed on the passion and death of Christ, and Lent came to be viewed as a time to acknowledge the sins that led to Christ’s passion and his death on the cross. As faithful Christians lined up to receive ashes, they heard a version of the same statement clergy make as they mark today’s faithful: “Remember man, that thou art dust; to dust you shall return.

Celebrating Ash Wednesday

Today, as Christians receive ashes on their foreheads, they may hear a slightly different version of the traditional call to repentence. Turn away from sin, and return to the gospel. Some denominations use both statements as the ashes are applied.

Many Christian denominations celebrate Ash Wednesday. These include:

  • Anglican Communion, Anglican Catholic, and Traditional Anglican Communion

  • Baptist

  • Catholic

  • Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

  • Church of God

  • Free Churches (practices vary from one to the next)

  • Lutheran

  • Methodist

  • Moravian Church

  • Reformed Churches, including Christian Churches, Presbyterian Churches, United Church of Christ

  • Wesleyan Church

This is by no means a complete list, and despite variations in tradition and liturgy, it’s amazing to consider how so many different Christians come together on this day each year to profess sorrow for wrongdoing and to show their commitment to Christian life.

If you wish to celebrate Ash Wednesday and your particular church does not hold a celebration, look for a church within your community that does, or look for an ecumenical service at which many different faith groups come together to share Ash Wednesday at one central location. Once marked with the ashes, you may leave them on your forehead until they wear off, as tradition dictates. When people ask what’s on your forehead, you get the opportunity to share your faith with them.

We hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial on the history and traditions surrounding Ash Wednesday. Whether you celebrate or not, remember this day marks the beginning of Jesus’ 40 day stint in the desert, when he went to fast and pray. Consider making some small sacrifice of your own during the Lenten season – you’ll be amazed at what a little extra focus on faith can do for your spiritual life.



Catholic Confirmation Gifts for Adults

Catholic Confirmation gifts for children are fairly easy to find. When adults receive the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation, different gifts are appropriate.

When looking for Catholic Confirmation gifts, much of what you find in stores and online may seem more appropriate for children than for adults. The fact is, many adults, including those who have been Catholic for some time and many who are new to the Catholic faith, are confirmed each year. Here, we share several great ideas concerning Catholic Confirmation gifts for adults.

Understanding Confirmation

Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments which can be conferred upon members of the Catholic faith. This sacrament calls the recipient to become an active part of the church community, and to become a witness to his or her faith. It is seen as a sign that the Confirmand is being united more firmly to Jesus Christ, and as a method for increasing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, some gifts that might be appropriate for other holidays and celebrations are really not quite right for presenting to an adult who is receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

People who receive the Sacrament of Confirmation are called to spread their faith and to defend it. They are also called to act as Christians and never to be ashamed of the cross of Christ. For this reason, the best Catholic Confirmation gifts are those that remind the newly confirmed person of his or her faith.

Ideas for Catholic Confirmation Gifts

Some people are notoriously difficult to shop for, and that problem might seem to be compounded even further by the need to find a special gift that isn’t just appropriate, but that the recipient will truly appreciate. The good news is that it is possible to find outstanding Catholic Confirmation gifts that are both unique and affordable. Here are some top ideas you may find useful:

  • Rosaries – Catholics of all ages appreciate rosaries, and presenting someone with a special rosary says that you truly do care about the recipient, and that you care deeply about that person’s spiritual life.
  • Crosses – As the call to deeper faith calls recipients of the Sacrament of Confirmation to act as witnesses of Christ, a cross that can be hung on the wall makes an excellent gift. One of the nicest crosses you can give a newly confirmed Catholic is a cross with a dove positioned over the top. Since the dove is used as a symbol that represents the Holy Spirit, this type of cross is particularly meaningful to those receiving confirmation.
  • Cross Necklaces – The gift of jewelry is intensely personal, and people love to receive things they can wear. You can find a wonderful variety of cross necklaces in various configurations anyone will appreciate, and many are available at surprisingly low prices.

For a great selection of Confirmation gifts, visit, and spend just a few minutes browsing. You’ll find rosaries, crosses, jewelry, and other items handcrafted by Christian artisans from Bethlehem, and you’ll love knowing that a portion of the proceeds go straight to the artisans, so they can support their families and live their faith.


Bethlehem Olivewood Gifts Last a Lifetime

Gifts made with Bethlehem olivewood take on a rich patina that deepens with each passing year. Best of all, Olivewood from Bethlehem is a renewable resource.

Gifts made with Bethlehem olivewood are very beautiful to begin with, but did you know that as olive wood ages, it starts to take on an even more dramatic appearance? While some gifts are destined to end up being donated to charity, re-gifted, or simply forgotten about in a box filled with clutter, gifts of Bethlehem olivewood are cherished for a lifetime – maybe because they look better with each passing year. Here, we’ll take a quick look at olive wood, and provide you with a brief overview of its properties, so you understand exactly where it comes from, how it is produced, and more.

Bethlehem Olivewood: A Renewable Resource

Beautiful gifts made with exotic woods are getting harder to come by, partly because woods sourced from rainforests are now scarce, with some trees teetering on the brink of extinction. So, why isn’t olive wood at risk? The answer lies at the heart of the olive tree itself. Not only is its root system nearly indestructible, allowing trees that have been cut down or even burned to the ground to completely regenerate themselves, the trees stay healthier when they are vigorously pruned.

Gifts made with olive wood from Bethlehem are made with wood sourced from branches that are trimmed away from the trees each year. The same trees artisans use to renew their craft wood supply are the trees they often rely on for olive oil and olives for their families to cook with and eat, and long-burning wood for small fires.

Olivewood’s Properties

If you look at a photo of Bethlehem olivewood trees, you’ll notice that the trees’ limbs are knotted and twisted. These trees are actually evergreen shrubs. They are hardy, drought-resistant, disease-resistant, and fire-resistant. The oldest olive trees in the world are believed to be more than two thousand years old, and it is believed that so long as an olive tree is pruned regularly and is properly cared for, it can live indefinitely.

The wood is very hard, with tightly packed grains. Usually a light yellow to greyish-green color, it possesses dark veins that run through it. No two trees are exactly alike, and no two pieces of art made from Bethlehem olivewood are alike, either. We like to say that just as God made each person with unique fingerprints, he created each olivewood tree to be unique, too.

You’ll find a wonderful array of handcrafted gifts made with olivewood from Bethlehem at HolyLand-Gifts. You may find yourself feeling a bit surprised about the low prices you find there, particularly as each item is made by hand, and as each is as unique as the olive trees the wood they’re made from are. Whether you’re looking for a Christian gift for a friend or family member, or just something nice for your home, you’ll be pleased with our selection and our prices.